The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Own Kayak Trailer

Are you tired of the backbreaking process of hoisting and sliding kayaks onto your vehicle? Do you cringe at the thought of spending a fortune on expensive roof racks or trailers? Look no further! In this article, we will show you how to build a custom DIY kayak trailer for under $800. Say goodbye to sore muscles and dented vehicles!

The Problem with Traditional Methods

Loading and unloading kayaks can be a frustrating and exhausting experience. Expensive roof racks and trailers often have limited capacity and come with hefty price tags. For example, the Thule Hullavator may make loading and unloading easy, but each kayak holder costs a whopping $950. That’s not all – you’ll also need to purchase a base rack for attachment, bringing the total to around $2500 for just two kayaks!

Alternatively, you can opt for a kayak-specific trailer, but even the base models from popular brands like Malone can cost over a thousand dollars. That’s where the DIY option comes in.

The DIY Solution: The Harbor Freight Trailer

With a little creativity and the Harbor Freight 4′ x 8′ Heavy Duty Foldable Trailer, you can build your own custom kayak trailer without breaking the bank. This solid steel platform can be easily customized using lumber and PVC or aluminum pipe. And the best part? The trailer itself costs under $600!

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By attaching kayak carriers to the trailer, you can transform it into a hauling machine capable of transporting multiple kayaks with ease. These powder-coated steel carriers, costing under $50 for a set of two, are not only affordable but also durable and rust-free.

DIY Kayak Trailer

Building Your DIY Kayak Trailer

Step 1: Assembling the Harbor Freight Trailer

Start by assembling the trailer using the components provided. While the process may seem daunting at first, the solid steel construction and beefy hardware make it fairly straightforward. However, having a friend and a couple of combination wrenches (16 mm and 17 mm) will make the build much easier. Trust us; they are worth their weight in gold!

Once assembled, your trailer will have two decks and a tongue. It’s important to note that the decks can be quite heavy, so having some help or using a protective material while moving them around is recommended.

Step 2: Customizing Your Trailer

The next step is to customize your trailer to suit your specific needs. This involves three main parts: attaching the deck, building the lower rack, and building the upper racks.

Attaching the Deck

To protect your kayaks from road debris, lay a solid deck on top of the trailer. Half-inch plywood works well and is cost-effective. It’s also a good idea to install kayak strap hardware on both sides of the frame while you have easy access. Simple eye bolts and lock nuts can be easily installed in the existing holes.

Building the Lower Rack

To create a sturdy lower rack capable of holding two kayaks, lay two 6-foot 2x4s across the beams of the trailer. Attach them using L brackets and screws, ensuring that they are set on the short edge. This will allow you to attach foam or pipe insulators to protect your kayaks.

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Building the Upper Racks

If you need to transport more than two kayaks, you can add upper racks to your trailer. Start by attaching a 2×4 vertically to the center and front beams of the lower rack. Then, connect the two vertical posts at the top using another 2×4. This creates a solid structure to support the upper racks.

For the upper rack crossbars, we recommend using 1.25-inch PVC pipes cut to six-foot lengths. These pipes are stiff and perfect for attaching steel kayak carriers. Once the crossbars are attached, add four side supports made from 2x4s to ensure stability.

DIY Kayak Trailer

Enjoy the Benefits of Your DIY Kayak Trailer

Congratulations! You’ve successfully built your own custom DIY kayak trailer. Now you can transport your kayaks with ease, save your back from unnecessary strain, and avoid spending a fortune on commercial alternatives.

Whether you choose to load two kayaks or take advantage of the space to transport five or more, your customizable trailer offers endless possibilities. So, get out on the water and enjoy your kayaking adventures without the hassle!

For more information and inspiration, visit UpStreamPaddle.